Developmentally Appropriate Practice –
( Taken from NAEYC – The National Association for the Education of Young Children )
Developmentally appropriate practice, often shortened to DAP, is an approach to teaching grounded in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education. Its framework is designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and development.
DAP involves teachers meeting young children where they are (by stage of development), both as individuals and as part of a group; and helping each child meet challenging and achievable learning goals.
Good Googly Goose Eggs. Bless our hearts today.
Today we had exciting visitors. Allow me to paint a picture for you. Ms Dallas arrived at 8 am with their pet , Little bit. The children had played a small amount but many were just finishing up breakfast. Little Bit was excited to see the kids and his tail was wagging with excitement . The children gathered around the carpet to ask Rani questions and to pet Little Bit. They loved it.
Next Ms Rochelle brought Pax’s puppy Pippin to visit us. Pippin was well mannered and even listened to commands. He was the first puppy to come see us with clothes on !
By the time Ms Rochelle and Pippin arrived we were beginning to unravel. Instead of sitting quietly and listening or asking questions preschoolers were literally rolling all over the floor.
Also from NAEYC
“Sitting still is overrated. It makes sense for the opera or for meditating, but in most classrooms and child care centers, it’s given far more honor than it deserves. Children need to move. Movement is one of the ways brains develop. Dendrites grow, connecting this part of the brain to that one and complementing this function with another. Sitting still makes us dumber. The brain doesn’t grow.
Sitting still is also one reason why circle time is such a problem in many places. Children aren’t being rebellious by moving around. They’re not prac- ticing how to out the authority of the teacher, nor are they growing into a lifetime of irresponsibility. They’re just moving, and they’re moving because they need to. It makes them smarter and stronger.”
Do you see where I am going here ?
This morning even though they were wonderful experiences we introduced them in a way that was not DAP. There was too much time for sitting and listening . There was no wiggle time in between. Oh sure, we did sing songs about dogs. Mr. Randy even got out his guitar and went into entertainer mode but alas… we had already upset the apple cart.
When we do things in our classroom that are not DAP we see many different things. Mostly the reaction is acting out or frustration or big emotions. We had it all. At one point I lost my phone and I heard at text come in . Dallas said ” where is it?” I said.. ” Start looking near the fritos. ” We were all struggling.
It took us about 20 minutes to realize we ( I ) had created chaos and there was mutiny on the horizon. (And to add to this big OOPS remember today is Thursday. Dallas and I always know that Thursday’s will be hard. We have several littles that attend church on Wednesday and their bedtime routine is messed up. ) We herded the cats and got outside. Even outside it took about an hour before you could feel things slowing down and reaching that stage where everyone was more in control of their emotions.
A cute story. Mila got poked on the forehead by a tube. We talked about it. I helped her calm and then said ” maybe the calm down center would help you. ” As I turned to watch her walk Malea came up beside her and walked with her and did a calm down technique with her. I will admit, I almost cried. Even in our chaos ( Conscious Discipline tells us NOT to JOIN the chaos and sometimes that is hard… ) the littles still went into what they have been taught. When a friend is struggling help them. I didn’t get a picture or a video quick enough. But low and behold 10 minutes later the tables turned and Malea got hurt ( Do you see a trend here..? ) and Mila took her to the calm down center and helped her. This time… I caught it.
Conscious Discipline works.
The affects of developmentally appropriate practice ( and the opposite ) are real.
So.. just to recap so you understand.
Spending time with special guest and learning about real things is important. It is a wonderful thing. We could probably even handle two guest in one day but we need some free play and wiggle time in between. Today reminded me of child care teachers that I hear struggling . There is a huge turnover in early childhood classrooms . Part of that ( I am guessing… ) is that the teachers come in not educated on what is DAP and do what they THINK preschoolers need. ( Soap box ) They sit them down to worksheets and tracing pages and flashcards and many long group times where teachers pass on their knowledge of what we think children NEED before going to kindergarten. PRESCHOOLERS ARE NOT WIRED TO DO THIS. Sigh….. I messed up today. I made your kids crazy. Thankfully, we get another opportunity tomorrow to do better.
We are all resting now. Thankfully, also you have teachers that are sold on the CD technique. Even in the craziness today we we able to remain calm. For the most part , our voices stayed calm. There may be fewer fritos in the cabinet . If you ask the kids they probably had a good day. Crazy to kids is good sometime in a weird sort of way . 🙂
We did recover after an amazing lunch of garlic chicken, dressing, carrots and grapes and even heard a story about the Itsy Bitsy Spider , sang a song about it and MADE a spider. Cause well… some people have spiders as pets.
The day wasn’t terrible. It was just crazy. Imagine a room full of ping pong balls.. about 16 of them and they just bounce from one wall to the next. You grab one ball and another one flies across the room are narrowly escapes hitting your head. That was our day.
Even in the midst of ping pong balls in an intentionally planned environment kids thrive .